Horner Takes a Dig at Rival Wolff’s Inheritance as a Mercedes F1 Team Principal

Published 11/05/2021, 6:44 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 5, 2021 Red Bull team principal Christian Horner during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Ever since the start of this season, there has been a bit of uneasiness persisting between the Red Bull and Mercedes team principals. Given every single opportunity, both Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have looked eager on taking each other down.

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And this has often led to a war of words between the duo. Hence, during the interview post-Friday practice sessions, Horner was asked whether there is mutual respect between himself and his rival team’s boss.

Well, it all started off well, but yet again, got a bit tricky in the end with Horner taking a dig at the Austrian. At least, we think he did, considering how he portrayed that sentence.

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What did the Red Bull boss say?

Horner reckoned that Wolff had done a splendid job as a team principal in Formula 1. And by reading this, one might wonder, where’s the dig. Well, the Briton made a brief pause after giving out the credible statement and went on to point out that Wolff had just inherited the team, unlike the Red Bull boss.

I have no issue with Toto. He’s done a great job there [pause]… In a team that he inherited,” the Red Bull team principal said.

Of course, it was an ‘ouch’ moment for Wolff, but, let’s take a moment to re-analyze Horner’s statement. Was he being too harsh on the Mercedes boss?

Is Horner being reasonable enough with the Mercedes claim?

First of all, Horner and Wolff are rivals, hence making such verbal exchanges quite common. But, is Horner right though? Partially.

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Yes, it was Ross Brawn who built the strong base of the Mercedes F1 team, as the Brawn GP owner led the German outfit as a team principal, initially. Apart from Brawn, there were several other men who joined forces to deliver the 2014 and the follow-up successes in the sport.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/John Thys

There was Norbert Haug and of course, the racing legend, Niki Lauda. However, gaining success from inheritance often works for a year or two. And the steam dies down after that. But, in Wolff’s case, Mercedes are still looking as strong as ever, and are chasing after their 8th consecutive constructor’s title at the moment.

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Hence, we’d say, Wolff has certainly done a remarkable job as a leader. But, his true challenge is coming – the 2022 regulation changes. Next season will provide the real answer to Horner’s rather unnoticed claim.

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Rohit Kumar

1457 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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